Kumite - why do I have a problem with just one karateka.......

Discussion in 'Karate' started by KarateMum, Sep 14, 2017.

  1. KarateMum

    KarateMum Valued Member

    And it's my son!

    Ours is a popular karate club, many members higher and lower grades than my teenage son and myself. We are the same grade and started at the same time. At the outset let me make one thing patently clear. I do not enjoy sparring/kumite. I am not good at it and never will be.

    I think the jury is still out on whether I am safe, I strive for more control than many might give me credit for, but how effective that appears I do not know, I also try very hard to practice what we are drilled at yet, still get told that steam-roller things. I am not a naturally aggressive person either.

    I would rather do kata, but when everyone else chooses to spar it seems more sociable to take part and it is good aerobic exercise. So I reluctantly spar.

    I can spar with anyone else of any age or grade in the dojo and feel satisfied with how the session pans out. However, when paired with my son for some reason nothing seems to work and we end up feeling entirely unsatisfied with the bout and nearly at odds with each other.

    Do you think it because we are mother and son, or is it down to a difference in his technique? Would it be seen as a reasonable request to ask Sensei not to pair us together?
  2. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    What style of karate do you do?
  3. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Yeah, you should see me and my brother sparring. It gets very aggressive sometimes.
  4. narcsarge

    narcsarge Masticated Whey

    My opinion, and it's just that, an opinion, is that you and your son don't want to do anything that may hurt or embarrass the other. You both hold back and both try to be "polite". I have the same issue with my son but, men being men, we do trade blows consistently. We have to rein in our aggression and, quite frankly, frustration. Asking Sensei not to pair the two of you is a fine idea.
  5. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    Y'see, I agree with this a lot, up to the last sentence.

    Part of MA, for me, is learning to work with different people. That might be taller, shorter, stronger, weaker, whatever, but it might also be family.

    So, from one point of view, you should find a way to make it work for the experience.

    Secondly, even though most sparring in karate styles is pretty controlled, you're working on hurting someone you know and care about. From a purely self defence point of view, this is actually a good idea. Assaults are often committed by people we know.

    Finally though, I think you need to take the emotion out of it. It's just sparring. Nobody is going to die, nobody is going to lose a limb. So get on with enjoying it for the sport it is :)

  6. Rataca100

    Rataca100 Banned Banned

    Have you done ad hoc WWE? Ad hoc WWE is the best. Until somone gets the Bokken or steel chair

    Im not really a rule for the family thing,its only distant which does martial arts and then i have not spared with any of them as a actual sparing match rather than learning how to do it. So its a diffrent dynamic and rule. Look out for pads when they do pad work.:p The advice above is sound, you tend to pull punches or alter what you do to family anyway even if you are fighting properly.
  7. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

    You will be over time, that's what training is, getting good through effort over time.
    Moosey likes this.
  8. KarateMum

    KarateMum Valued Member

    Thanks all, I guess we've just got to get our heads around it. Mitch, it's Wado Ryu Karate. I love doing Kata (brain power allowing! - The memory isn't what it was when I was a teen), but I am def. not a natural fighter. I never know whether I should attack or defend from one moment to the next. If I spar with a senior grade they often seem to wait and almost encourage me to attack first, then I attack and get 'bopped'. I think I am probably better at defending, but that does mean that someone has to attack and not everyone does first and then we either get a stand-off with no-one attacking or I have to take the initiative and take the consequences. However, with others in the Dojo at all grades, even if I don't get it right, it feels like I've had a productive session. Until I spar with my son and then it all seems to go pair shaped. I wonder if its because he is so much better than I am and maybe I find that frustrating, but that's only a guess and I don't really understand the dynamics of the problem (and that's frustrating in itself).
  9. PointyShinyBurn

    PointyShinyBurn Valued Member

    Have you spoken to him about it?
  10. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    A long time ago I used to feel this way. For me it was a combination of two things - the fear of getting hurt and the fear of hurting others.

    I lost my fear of getting hurt a few years after I started training when I was attacked in a pub, held down and given a solid beating by several people. There were so many people involved I couldn't see who was hitting me or kicking me. What I do remember clearly is seeing each punch coming down onto my face and thinking "I've been hit harder than this in training." From that point onwards I didn't worry about getting hit. I still flinch if surprised, I still wince and cover, but I'm not concerned about accidental or deliberate knocks.

    It can be hard to hit someone you care about. To attack them with everything you've got. But ask yourself this - is there anyone else who you would trust more to do this important job? To push your son to a higher skill level without maliciously hurting him. It is the job of a sparring partner to attack as hard as their training partner can take - to stretch and expand each other's capabilities. It is not spiteful, it's a privilege. You know the harder you attack him - the better he will get. You also know that if you do hit him he'll know the intent behind it. In similar vein, who better than someone you care about to push you into becoming better. Who more than your son would like to see you more proficient in these skills. If you can both accept that the harder you try the more you are doing for each other then it may become mentally and emotionally easier, but physically more demanding and more fun, and bring you even closer together. Few things bond like shared adversity.

    You say that you are not good at sparring and never will be. That is an opinion, not a fact. I used to feel this way and confidence in actually using my karate changed my perspective, as did changing the type of karate I do (I'm far more comfortable at tactile grappling and striking karate than I am at long ranger range striking only). If you can stop worrying about being judged, stop counting the hits others land on you, and start focusing on dodging them and getting your own in then you'll start to have fun. Count the misses they made and the hits you make - flip it round. If you let go of the pressure of trying to win, let go of the worry of hurting someone (because you are there to help them get better so you have to go for them to help them), you'll probably begin to enjoy it, and when that happens you may find that you're actually really rather good.
  11. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    You've already learned a lot from sparring: you're most likely to get hit when you're attacking!

    I don't know if you have the opportunity to do this in your classes, but you need to slow things down to a pace that allows you to assess what is going on. That may well mean going painfully slow at first, but you have to forget about your ego and/or anxiety and try to observe yourself dispassionately. Trying to do this with people you have emotional attachments to is often more difficult than with those you don't.
  12. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    If someone is trying to hit you = stop them. If they aren't trying to hit you = hit them. Everything else is just detail. :)
    Mitch likes this.
  13. Moosey

    Moosey invariably, a moose Supporter

    A good trick to get used to sparring without having to worry too much about hurting the other person is to take a leaf out of the kyokushin school's book and agree to do torso-only striking. Everyone can take a light punch to the torso, so you can relax about your control a bit and get used to enjoying the game of it. Even if your instructor doesn't say to do it, you can practice this rule within most other rulesets.

    Just don't take the other leaf out of their book and knee him in the face. That'll take the fun out of it quickly - especially for him!

    That's often a sign that you're standing too close together. Back away slightly to give yourself time to think and react. In karate, you should try and maintain a distance just out of arm's reach of your opponent, unless you're actively attacking or defending. Being able to keep moving to maintain this distance is the main thing that differentiates a beginner from a more experienced karate person.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
  14. KarateMum

    KarateMum Valued Member

    I think my son has as many issues with me as I do with him. We talk about on many occasions, but we can't work out what we both need to do. I don't think either of us are that concerned about literally making contact with each other. I think he is entirely more relaxed about his karate in general than I am (he is also very quick), but he is not so relaxed when we are paired together. I take it all very seriously (I take lots of things rather seriously - I was brought up to do what was right), I am aware that at my age and fitness of starting karate that I may have to rely on technique far more than speed/flexibility, hence I try to do all I am taught and do all I am asked to, I try to show proper respect by my conduct and I try to take part fairly and with due regard to my partner's skills and age. I also try not react too adversely if I am criticised even if I don't think the criticism is fair (I am the first to admit that this doesn't come naturally, but I bet most folks would secretly feel the same). It's been a long time getting to a point where I find any sparring bout is fun - sometimes they are, it depends who I'm with, mostly I try use the bouts to get better and try to do the things/set moves that we have practised - sometimes senior grades will help with this. I will even spar with other opponents who I find difficult to deal with in their approach and between us we get through the bout in fair form, but not with my son and its very difficult to know why. We inevitably end up connecting with each other harder than is intended (its not unusual that I walk into a punch hard enough to make the world go in a different direction for a few moments). Perhaps we ought to resort to shadow sparring, but I bet we would still connect. Though as Moosey has said perhaps we do get too close which is a thought worth considering.
  15. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    *Put's his finest Freudian slip on*

    You're subconsciously channeling all the built up resentment of years of dirty nappies, sleepless nights, supermarket tantrums and stained carpets while he is subconsciously channeling the times you didn't get him that bike he wanted for Christmas and that awful jumper you made him wear.#

    #Joking of course.
    Dead_pool likes this.
  16. Knee Rider

    Knee Rider Valued Member Supporter

    To be honest I don't see a problem with just not sparring each other.

    I'd not enjoy punching, kicking, kneeing and choking my mum or dad in training and I'd be so conflicted and noncommittal if I was asked that the sparring would be virtually worthless for me and for them as they won't be getting any quality feedback. Obviously there are two people involved and son Vs mother might be too awkward for your son to partake in even if you become ok with it

    Others have made a good case for how you could approach it but personally I'd say if you really feel uncomfortable with it then just don't pair up. It's no big deal.

    It's case by case though I suppose and depends on your relative (no pun intended) skill levels, your relationship and the type of sparring.
  17. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    I completely agree

    Sometimes people request that they are not partnered up with certain others, and that's fine.

    Especially if there's a skill gap. It's not just the likelihood of going too soft either, sometimes people are rougher on loved ones because they want to know that they can really defend themselves, but don't do it in a productive way.

    It can be like teaching loved ones to drive; being emotionally invested in outcomes can really hinder learning.
    KarateMum likes this.
  18. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    I think it's a perfectly reasonable request to ask the sensei in charge not to pair you up for the time being. On the other hand, regarding the situation itself, one thing that comes to mind is potentially trying to disassociate sparring and fighting. Trying to not take it seriously, and do more play-fighting than anything else, just casual and trying to move properly and have fun non-competitively (maybe out of class?). Just an idea, but something that may or may not help, and which might actually positively benefit your training in the long term, as it should help with being able to relax and also help explore different ways to move that you might not otherwise explore during regular kumite when you're focused on winning, or not-losing.
    Mitch and David Harrison like this.

Share This Page